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Seminar Paper in Educational Management HMEE 5043



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Seminar Paper in Educational Management HMEE 5043




Job satisfaction is workers’ positive emotional expressions towards their jobs and work
experience. An individual joins an organization with certain expectations and when these
expectations come true the individual becomes pleased with her organization and her job, and
this increases her efficiency and performance. Researches on teachers’ job satisfaction levels
barely have overlapping results. Current study says teachers’ chosen the profession by their
own will, they consider teaching as a respectful profession. Most of the teachers are satisfied
with the behaviour of their principal and other colleagues. Majority of teachers are deprived
from basic facilities. Teachers are satisfied with the present trend of 5 days working in a

Keywords : mixed methods, Job satisfaction, Job dissatisfaction, Primary schools, Cluster


Job satisfaction has been defined as a pleasurable emotional state resulting from the appraisal
of one’s job; an affective reaction to one’s job; and an attitude towards one’s job. The
definition further suggests that we form attitudes towards our jobs by taking into account our
feelings, our beliefs, and our behaviours (Eryaman and Sonmezer, 2008). It is the designation
of how happy a worker is with his job. Job satisfaction is a concept where an individual is
evaluated from her point of view, and this concept includes the worker’s feelings and
emotions about her job (Weiss, 2002). Job satisfaction is workers’ positive emotional
expressions towards their jobs and work experience. In simple terms, the realization of
workers’ physical and psychological expectations constitutes job satisfaction (Testa, 1999).

An individual joins an organization with certain expectations and when these expectations
come true the individual becomes pleased with her organization and her job, and this

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Seminar Paper in Educational Management HMEE 5043

increases her efficiency and performance (Nelson & Quick, 1995). However, when these
expectations do not meet with work conditions, job satisfaction does not occur, and as a
result; the worker loses performance and efficiency and might even sabotage the job or quit
it. It is important to prevent workers from feeling disappointed and maximize their efficiency
and performance by identifying and regulating the factors that affect job satisfaction
(Eryaman and Sonmezer, 2008). So job satisfaction is the realization level of one’s
expectations from her job and her organization. Considering all of the definitions above, for
this study, job satisfaction is defined as follows: Job satisfaction is all a worker’s emotional
responses towards his organization and his job, when his expectations and realization of these
expectations are considered (Ergenc, 1981).

As mentioned above, job satisfaction is constituted by the worker’s behaviours, and positive
and negative feelings in her organizational environment. These feelings are formed by
internal and external sources. Internal source of satisfaction is internal rewards and external
source is the motivators in the organization (Galbraith, 1997). It is a worker's sense of
achievement and success, and is generally perceived to be directly linked to productivity as
well as to personal wellbeing. Job satisfaction implies doing a job with enjoy, doing it well,
and being suitably rewarded for one's efforts. Job satisfaction further implies enthusiasm and
happiness with one's work.

Background of the Study

The present study is exploratory cum descriptive. Cluster schools in Perak constitute the
universe of the study. Stratified random sampling method has been adopted. The study covers
2 selected cluster schools located in two districts Kuala Kangsar and Taiping. The sample
size for primary data includes 60 teachers primary schools selecting (30 teachers from each of
two schools).

The present study is based on primary data, which has been collected through a multiple
choice structured questionnaire that contain some open-ended questions too. Questionnaires
have been framed for teachers of cluster schools. Questionnaires have been filled through
personal contact with the respondents.

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Research Objectives and Questions

The study focuses on the investigation of the main question:

What factors affect the job satisfaction of primary school teachers in Cluster schools?

This question has been answered through the following sub-questions:

1. What aspect of the role of the teacher impacts on job satisfaction?
2. Why do these aspects impact on job satisfaction?
3. What are the relevant strengths of these factors?
4. Is job satisfaction significantly affected by variables such as age, qualification, school
building type, experience attendance of teachers’ training programme and the role of the
educational supervision centre?
5. How satisfied/dissatisfied are teachers in primary schools in Cluster schools with their
position as teacher?

The objective of the study is to find out the factors affecting the job satisfaction of primary
school teachers in Cluster schools? .

Literature Review

Pearson and Moomaw (2005), the main reason for this is that the research studies analysed
different indicators about teachers’ in-class and in-school roles and their job satisfaction
levels. In addition, identification of these indicators varies in schools with different Socio
cultural and economic background. Tye and O’Brien (2002), Besides the differences
effecting job satisfaction levels such as teachers’ education level, gender, ethnicity, age, and
socio-economic conditions, their devotion to their jobs makes these differences more
complicated and personal. Davis and Wilson (2000) discussed that teachers accept their jobs
as a sacred duty and therefore they give less importance to external factors and rewards about
job motivation. Protheroe, Lewis, and Paik (2002) research shows that when solving
problems, the level of collaboration and communication between teachers and managers is
essential in increasing job satisfaction.

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Bogler, 2002; Woods and Weasmer, 2002; Ebmeir, 2003; Jacobson, (2005) Several
qualitative and quantitative research studies identified the importance of teacher’s
participation level in decision making mechanisms, and of the school culture in which
managers value teachers’ ideas, in improving the commitment and job satisfaction levels of
teachers. Locke and Lathan (1976) give a comprehensive definition of job satisfaction as
pleasurable or positive emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one’s job or job
experience a result of employee's perception of how well their job provides those things that
are viewed as important. It is generally recognized in the organizational behaviour field that.
Job satisfaction is the most important and frequently studied attitude. Job satisfaction is an
emotional response to a job situation.

Levinson and Moser, (1997) Job satisfaction is so important in that its absence often leads to
lethargy and reduced organizational commitment. Lack of job satisfaction is a predictor of
quitting a job. Sometimes workers may quit from public to the private sector and vice versa.
At the other times the movement is from one profession to another that is considered a
greener pasture. This later is common in countries grappling with dwindling economy and its
concomitant such as poor conditions of service and late payment of salaries. In such
countries, people tend to migrate to better and consistently paying jobs. Mejia and Balkin
(1984), this study examines the relationship of faculty union- ism on satisfaction with pay
and other job dimensions.

Union faculty were more satisfied with their pay than were non-union faculty. Other
significant determinants of faculty pay satisfaction were pay level, tenure, job experience,
and sex. With the exception of pay, unionization was unrelated to other dimensions of job
satisfaction. The past decade has seen an enormous increase in the number of unionized
institutions in higher education. Faculty unionism replaces the collegial governance system
with one based on the process of collective bargaining for determining wages, hours, and
conditions of employment.

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Theoretical Framework / Conceptual Framework

Many researchers in the field of social sciences have attempted to define the concept of job
satisfaction. However, Al-Owaidi (2001) pointed out that there is a diversity of
interpretations of the term and that there is no universal comprehensive definition. This fact is
confirmed by the work of Oplatka and Mimon (2008), who state that there is no universal
definition of the term job satisfaction that can be agreed upon. In the literature the term
reflects a wide range or variety of interpretations of needs, orientations, feelings, perceptions
and expectations.

Nevertheless, the most cited definition in the field of job satisfaction research within the
different disciplines that have examined it, is the one offered by Locke (1976, P. 1300) in
which he suggested that job satisfaction is “A pleasurable or positive emotional state
resulting from the appraisal of one’s job or job experiences.” Most of the relevant research
has tried to determine the factors which lead to satisfaction and dissatisfaction. Buitendach
and De Witte (2005) differentiate between the dimensions of the factors which might affect
job satisfaction by classifying them into two categories – extrinsic factors including
promotion, co-workers, supervision and recognition, and intrinsic factors including
personality, education, age and marital status.

However, Dodd-McCue and Wright (1996) stated that the predictor variables of job
satisfaction are most likely to overlap and that the lack the clarification of organisational and
job characteristics are causal factors. Furnham (1992) pointed out that, according to the
literature, job satisfaction factors are divided into three groups. These are 1) organisational
characteristics focussing on issues such as reward, supervision, and decision-making
practices, 2) specific aspects of the job that include workload, autonomy, feedback and the
physical working environment, and 3) individual characteristics concerning personal
characteristics such as self-esteem and general life satisfaction. Within the educational
context, Crossman and Harris (2006) classified the factors that might affect job satisfaction
into three general categories.

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These are: 1) environmental factors such as the work itself and the environment, 2)
psychological factors such as personality, behaviour, and attitudes, and 3) demographic
factors such as gender. One of the most significant factors affecting job satisfaction,
especially in the educational context, is the work itself, which is highly associated with the
characteristics of the structure of the educational organisation. The organisational structure
can play a significant role in this regard, depending on whether the structure is highly
centralised or decentralised. What determines the degree of centralisation or decentralisation
is the extent of decision-making participation and the autonomy which the employee has. The
differentiation between the two structures is identified by Lambert et al. (2006).

Where the employees work in a highly centralised and formalised organisation, they tend to
be dissatisfied and uncommitted (Organ and Greene, 1982) and most likely the opposite is the
case in a decentralised organisation. In general, schools in developing countries such as
Malaysia are characterised by a highly centralised system, where the decision making is from
top to bottom, where there is a lack of school autonomy and where there is a great deal of
bureaucracy. In the relevant literature on job satisfaction these characteristics are most likely
to be considered as a source of dissatisfaction. While autonomy within Maslow’s theory is
considered as an important factor for employees’ self-esteem, the responsibilities and the
work itself are described as motivating factors in Herzberg’s theory. Moreover, decision-
making policy is regarded as a hygiene factor, preventing dissatisfaction.

The impact of the organisational structure, especially that of centralisation, appears as a

dissatisfying factor in a number of studies representing different educational contexts such as
Malaysia (Alroyali 2002), Jordan (Yaseen 1990; Alomari 1992), Cyprus (Zembylas and
Papanastasion 2006), Turkey (Sari 2004) and Greece (Saiti 2007), where bureaucracy and
lack of autonomy were found to dominate and to cause equal job dissatisfaction for both
teachers and teachers. The different perspectives used to tackle the determination and
classification of such factors was found to overlap. However, these factors can be separated
into three main categories: namely, the organisation category, the work itself category and the
individual characteristics category, as shown in Figure 1.

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Work Itself Factors

Respect, Physical
Organisation factors environment, Workload, Individual
Organisation Structure Achievement Characteristics

Overall Job

Figure 1 The study Conceptual Framework

Figure 1 presents the main three categories of factors which affect job satisfaction. The
drawing of sharp boundaries between these categories is a difficult task as the phenomenon of
job satisfaction is multidimensional and the various aspects overlap. However, Figure 1 sets
out the different factors according to the researcher’s perspective, based on the literature

The organisation factors category includes the factors which are likely to be externally
determined, such as organisational structure, policy, autonomy, authority, decision making,
supervision, salary and reward. The second category - the work itself - includes those factors
which are more likely to be of an internal nature, such as interpersonal relationships, status,
recognition, appreciation, respect, promotion, achievement, responsibilities, physical
environment, workload and job security. Finally, the third category, which deals with

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individual characteristics, includes factors of a personal nature, such as age, gender,

experience and qualifications.

This conceptual framework reflects the nature and the features of the Malaysian educational
context, where a highly centralised system is dominant. However, it is influenced by the
ambiguous and multidimensional nature of the phenomenon of job satisfaction, in which
many facets overlap. The majority of the studies which investigated the job satisfaction of
teachers were quantitatively driven, since the use of questionnaires is less time-consuming
compared with a qualitative approach. In addition, the majority of the studies of job
satisfaction within the different disciplines were quantitative in nature.

However, the reviewed studies either used well-known standard measurements such as the
Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire (M.S.Q) for instance in the studies of Alomari (1992),
Newby (1999), Alonazi (2002) and James (2004) or the Job Descriptive Index (J.D.I ) such as
in the study of Yaseen (1990) or developed their own questionnaires for the purpose of their
study as represented by the studies of Alsaraf et al. (1994), Alaraimi (1998), Tieam

Summary of Findings

The different sets of findings of the present study are presented here according to the
dominant paradigm and the time order of the data collection. The findings derived from focus
group interviews enabled the researcher to define the major and sub-themes of job
satisfaction of the primary school teachers. These themes are morale, relationship with the
educational administration, relationships with students and parents, the school environment,
relationship with educational supervision, teachers’ practices and relationships with teachers.

Consequently, these major themes were explored inductively and deductively in depth by
conducting semi-structured interviews to identify the underpinning factors of satisfaction and
dissatisfaction. The definitions of the major themes as perceived and expressed by the
primary school teachers are as follows:

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The first major theme: The relationship with educational administration.

This theme, as perceived by primary school teachers, refers to different aspects that govern
the relationship between the teachers and the educational administration and its authority. It
includes other sub-themes reflecting this notion which are procedures, responsiveness, work
systems, trust, job security, support, teachers’ training programmes, and the preparation of
teachers before fulfilling the role.
The second major theme: Morale.
The definition of the term morale, as considered by the primary school head teachers, referred
to the incentive factors which influence their job satisfaction, either positively or negatively.
The morale theme includes other sub-themes that reflect the incentive factors. These are
appreciation, respect, honour, responsiveness, job security, trust, support and salary.
The third major theme: Teachers’ practices.
This theme reflects the practical side of the responsibilities and duties of the primary school
teacher. The definition of this theme, as perceived by them, is how they practice their role in
reality. This theme includes other sub-themes. These are the teacher’s role, human
relationships, teacher’s professional development, setting up the school environment, the
teacher’s practical handbook, teacher achievement, team building, the delegation of power,
and learning development.
The fourth major theme: School environment.
The major theme of school environment refers mainly to the physical environment regarding
the school buildings and their preparation and setting up for learning and teaching. This
includes the other sub-themes of financial resources, administrative staff, rented buildings,
school cleaning, school maintenance, the school buffet and head teacher’s expenses.
The fifth major theme: Relationships with students and parents.
This theme can be defined as the framework which regulates the relationship between the
teacher and the students and their parents in terms of the attendance, achievement and
behaviour of the former; in addition it refers to the cooperation between teachers and parents
aimed at overcoming various obstacles. This theme includes the other sub-themes of
relationship with students, relationship with parents, students’ achievements, and the
regulation of student assessment, the regulation of students’ perseverance and behaviour, and
participation in the parents’ council.

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The sixth major theme: Teacher’s authority.

The theme of authority, as perceived by teachers themselves,, refers to the decision-making
power over teachers, deputy teachers, controlling staff salaries and students. This theme
includes the other sub-themes of teachers’ attitudes regarding their authority with regard to
the responsibilities undertaken, authority related to students, authority related to teachers,
authority related to deputy teachers and authority to control staff salaries.
The seventh major theme: Relationship with educational supervision.
This major theme refers to the responsibilities and the duties of the educational supervision
centres and supervisors towards mentoring the school teacher and teachers with regard to
their performance and commitment. This theme includes the other sub-themes of relationship
with educational supervision centres, relationship with educational supervisors, supervision
practices and supervision authority.
The eighth major theme: Relationship with teachers.
This theme, as perceived by teachers, refers to the responsibilities and role of the teacher
mainly with regard to teacher’s performance and commitment. This theme includes the other
sub-themes of teacher’s performance, commitment, moving teachers, teacher compatibility
and teacher’s professional development. The findings of the semi-structured interviews have
the capacity to enrich our understanding of how primary school teachers perceive and express
their feelings and attitudes regarding their job satisfaction. Moreover, it helps to determine
the factors of satisfaction and dissatisfaction.

The combination of the identified factors that were derived from the focus group and the
semi-structured interviews formed the foundation of the questionnaire. The latter included 68
factors based on the number of responses for each factor. Any responses fewer than three
were rejected. To sum up, the qualitative findings contributed to answering the main research
question of the present study by identifying the factors which affect the primary school
teachers’ job satisfaction

Significance of the Study

The associations between job satisfaction and occupational stress have long been established
by international research. A considerable amount of literature has emerged in the context of
schools and, in particular, teachers. However, these processes have not been investigated
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comprehensively in the context of primary schools in recent years. In view of ongoing

changes in schools and curricula as well as the working conditions of teachers, identifying
factors influencing job satisfaction and occupational stress is timely as the ability to cope
with change has become increasingly important for teachers and principals (Kyriacou, 2001).
Job satisfaction can be an important policy issue since it is closely associated with teachers’
work motivation and performance, factors that ultimately affect student learning (Ostroff,
1992). In addition, teacher stress has both economic and personal implications – it can lead to
stress-related employee absenteeism and may also result in teacher burnout and affect pupil
outcomes (Kyriacou, 1987).

Acknowledging the importance of this issue, many studies have sought to identify the
determinants of teacher stress. As discussed in section two of this report, these can be
personal (gender, age, experience), school-level (student issues, administration/staff issues,
lack of autonomy) or system-level factors (salary and recognition of teaching profession).
Student behaviour problems have generally been identified as the greatest source of stress for
both primary and secondary teachers (Borg et al., 1991; Chaplain, 1995). Principals too play
a critical part in creating and sustaining high performing schools (Lacey, 2003). According to
the author, the areas of strongest dissatisfaction among school principals include the effect of
the job on their personal life, supervision of work, adequacy of administrative support and
intensity of work. These findings suggest that teacher and principal job satisfaction and stress
may result from a combination of factors in the work context.

Research Method

The present study deals with the analyses of job satisfaction and performance of teachers in
different systems, namely, state, matriculation and central board schools, at the primary level.
The variables chosen in the present study are job satisfaction and performance of teachers.
The target population for the present study is the teachers in different categories of schools
following different systems of education at the primary level. From the target population a
sample of 60 teachers was chosen for the present study. The chosen sample comprised of 60
teachers from the two cluster schools.

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The research tools used for the present study to analyze the job satisfaction and performance
of teachers in different systems of education at the primary level are Manual for the
Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire (Weiss and others, 1967) and Effective Performance
Appraisals (Maddux, 2004). The pilot study has been conducted with the objective of trying
out to design the instrument and to establish its reliability. A sample of 30 teachers at the
primary level in different systems of education was randomly selected for the pilot study.
Reliability of the instruments has been established using the Cronbach’s Alpha method
(Cronbach, 1951), as it is a more robust test of reliability compared to the simple test-retest
method or parallel form reliability.

Reliability of the tool, the Effective Performance Appraisal (Maddux, 2004) was calculated to
be 0.72 and for Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire (Weiss and others, 1967) it was
calculated to be 0.84. The instruments were given to experts for their judgment of relevance
and irrelevance. After the careful examination of the opinion by the selected experts, the
content validity for both the instruments was established. For The Effective Performance
Appraisals (Maddux, 2004) and Manual for the Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire (Weiss
and others, 1967), content validity was established. The main study started with the
administration of the instrument to a sample of 588 teachers at the primary levels in different
systems of education. The data thus collected was analyzed statistically.


School climate was found to have a strong impact on teacher and principal job satisfaction
and occupational stress. In particular, the nature of the student intake (notably, behaviour
difficulties among pupils) was seen to pose challenges for teachers as well as principals. This
pattern points to the need to provide teachers with behaviour management skills through
initial and continuing teacher education and to provide principals with appropriate
professional development support in fostering a whole-school approach to dealing with pupil

Previous research has shown that the quality of relations in the school has a significant
impact on a range of student outcomes, including engagement, retention and performance

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(see Smyth et al., 2007). This study highlights the importance of day-to-day interaction
among the school partners – teachers, pupils, parents – in shaping teachers’ own experiences.
Promoting a positive school climate should therefore be considered a fundamental part of
school development planning.

Job satisfaction and occupational stress were also associated with working conditions in the
school in terms of job characteristics and adequate resources and facilities. At present, multi-
grade classes are quite prevalent in cluster schools but little is known about their effect on
pupils or teachers. This study points to somewhat higher teacher stress levels in multi-grade
contexts, highlighting the need to support teachers through professional development in
engaging with the complexities involved. In addition, combining teaching with school
leadership poses considerable challenges not only for principals but also for classroom
teachers in their school, as demonstrated in previous sections of this study.

This points to the need for professional development support for school principals but
perhaps suggests more fundamental concerns about the long-term viability of this dual role.
International research has highlighted the importance of adequate staffing in schools. In this
study we also found that having adequate administrative support was crucial in facilitating
the principal’s role. In addition, operating a school in an unsuitable building or one with poor
facilities increases the challenges for school leaders, indicating the importance of school
design in fostering positive outcomes (see Darmody, Smyth and Doherty 2010). On the basis
of this study, it is recommended that continued attention should be given to the design of new
school buildings and retrospective refurbishment of older ones. Finally, given the declining
numbers of men in primary teaching, the fact that male teachers are somewhat less satisfied
than female teachers with their jobs is a matter for concern and merits further investigation.


Majority of teachers have chosen the profession by their own will, they consider teaching as a
respectful profession. About fifty percent teachers are found satisfied and few teachers are
dissatisfied with their present salary, as majority of teachers are getting the salary below
government scale. Most of the teachers are able to satisfy their students; they said that their

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present salary did not have any effect on their teaching ability. Most of the teachers are
satisfied with the behaviour of their principal and other colleagues. A few teachers are getting
accommodation facility from schools. Majority of teachers are getting free education facility
for their wards.


Aziah Ismail (2009). Accelerating cluster school excellence within guided autonomy
periphery: A Malaysian Case. Pulau Pinang, Malaysia: Universiti Sains Malaysia.

Edward Sek Khin Wong and Teoh Ngee Heng (2009). Case study of factors influencing jobs
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Lai Chai Hong, Nik Intan Norihan Abd Hamid and Norliza Mohd Salleh (2013). A study on
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Muhammad Madi B Abdullah, Jegak Uli and Shahrul Nizam Salahudin (2009). Job
satisfaction of secondary school teachers in Tawau, Sabah.

Satish Kumar Kalhotra (2012). A study of job satisfaction of primary and secondary school
teachers. Golden Research Thoughts.

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